LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu – GMR MEGAWIDE Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) is pleased that the conclusion of several months of discussions with Emirates Airline of the UAE has translated into today’s formal announcement by Emirates confirming the launch of a daily Cebu-Clark-Dubai circular service starting March 30, 2016 utilizing a wide-bodied Boeing 777-300ER.
The two-class configured Boeing 777-300ER offers 42 seats in Business Class and 386 seats in Economy.
Passengers travelling on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER will be able to enjoy the airline’s award-winning ice system with more than 500 channels of on-demand entertainment to choose from, including Filipino movies and music.
Prior to take-over of MCIA, GMCAC identified three key markets to connect to Cebu to facilitate an increase in inward tourism, outbound travel for Filipinos, including OFWs, and cargo capacity to support exports of Filipino products. These three markets were identified by GMCAC as the Middle East, USA, and Europe. Following the announcement of a direct Cebu-Los Angeles service with Philippine Airlines (PAL) commencing in March 2016, the Dubai route becomes the second strategic vision to be realized by GMCAC for the benefit of Cebuanos.
Mr. Srinivas Bommidala, Chairman of the GMCAC Board commented that the pursuit of such new and diverse routes for Cebu was supported by detailed economic analysis to ensure the long term sustainability as well as economic and social benefits for passengers and businesses. Emirates operates multiple daily frequencies into GMR’s airports in Delhi and Hyderabad (India) and the GMCAC Team was able to leverage the knowledge gained in building those frequencies and networks and apply them whilst proposing a viable route analysis to Emirates for the Cebu route.
Routes such as these offer convenient and viable alternatives for travelers departing from and destined to the Visayas and Mindanao without limiting their choice to Manila only.
Louie Ferrer, GMCAC President confirmed that these route announcements form the basis of GMCAC’s strategic vision of connecting Cebu to key global destinations and these routes are the first of many new routes to be launched.
“Filipinos living in Visayas and Mindanao who go to the Middle East and Europe will benefit from this new route. Now they can fly directly from Cebu and save the hard-earned money they would usually spend on board, lodging and transportation if departing from Manila,” Ferrer said.
He noted that a large number of OFWs, about 35-40 percent reside in the central and southern Philippines but most still have to make their way to Manila to catch flights going to their countries of work. This incurs additional expenses and earlier times of departure from their places of residence.
“If we can give our kababayans the opportunity to spend even one extra day with their loved ones by allowing them to fly out directly from Cebu, then we’ve done our job,” he said.
The Emirates route will enhance the choice for travelers in the Philippines, who will be able to conveniently connect to 39 cities in Europe, 16 in the Middle East as well as a number of destinations across Emirates’ extensive network.
Emirates daily flights from Cebu will depart as EK338 at 17:25hrs, arriving at Clark International Airport at 18:45hrs. From Clark, it will make its way to Dubai at 20:20hrs, arriving at Dubai International Airport at 01:25hrs the next day. The return flight will depart Dubai and arrive at MCIA at 18:45hrs.
Andrew Harrison, GMCAC Chief Executive Advisor noted that the improvements of facilities at MCIA play a big part in attracting airlines with multiple products such as economy and business class, thereby offering travelers more choice in their travel product. Examples of the terminal improvements include the new CIP Lounge operated by Plaza Premium, which airlines with a business class product require.
MCIA is the second busiest airport in the Philippines with the capacity to handle 4.5 million passengers a year and will soon surge to 12.5 million when the new terminal be unveiled by June 2018.